The advent of cable television in the 1940s and 1950s transformed the entertainment landscape. The average consumer got access to excellent picture quality and a plethora of TV channels. Also, it eliminated the need to install and tune bulky antennas.
But as is the case with any technology, many new-age consumers are choosing to pull the plug on cable TV. The shift has been largely propelled by the prevalence of high-speed internet connection and streaming services. This, in turn, has compelled people to look for reliable and pocket-friendly cord-cutting options.
In this post, we’ll explore the best cord-cutting options you can choose from in 2021. But let’s first delve deeper into the concept and analyze its benefits.
What is Cord-Cutting?
Simply put, cord-cutting is the practice of canceling your regular cable or satellite TV connection in favor of internet TV and over-the-top (OTT) apps. The primary reason people look for cord-cutting services is cost savings.
A combination of on-demand and live streaming apps is easier on the wallet compared to a cable TV subscription. Also, you can choose your preferred OTT subscriptions instead of paying for a ton of channels you’ll never watch.
Additionally, streaming services offer a wide range of high-quality programs, including web series, movies, comedy specials, etc. Some services also let you access popular broadcast networks and channels, such as CBS, ABC, and Fox.
It isn’t surprising that pay-TV households in the U.S. are projected to plunge to 60.3 million by 2025 (from 94.3 million in 2017).
Image via eMarketer
So, what’s the best way to cut the cable cord without spending a fortune?
Let’s take a look at the best cord-cutting options.
Cable TV Cord-Cutting Options: A Quick Guide
Buying a smart TV isn’t the only cord-cutting option available in the market. From media streaming devices and over-the-air antennas - there are various ways to enjoy streaming services.
So, let’s dive in.
Check Your Internet Connection
Before you start scouting for the best cord-cutting service, you should find out whether your internet connection will be able to support it. Check whether you can simultaneously use streaming apps on multiple devices with your existing internet connection. Also, check the speed during peak hours (typically between 6 pm and 10 pm).
Explore Different Cord-Cutting Services
This is likely the most crucial step of cable TV cord-cutting. You need to select the right hardware depending on your budget and preferences. Typically, you can choose one of the following options:
- Over-the-air (OTA) antennas
- Smart TVs
- Media streaming hubs (such as Amazon Fire TV Stick and Roku)
- A laptop and HDMI cable
OTA antennas are a good choice for people living in urban areas where access to broadcast networks is readily available. You’ll get to view popular networks, such as NBC and CBS, and some local channels. However, the choice of programming would be limited.
Alternatively, you can use Amazon Fire TV or Roku Streaming Stick to access app stores and stream apps on your TV. This is less expensive than splurging on smart TVs, such as the ones manufactured by LG and Samsung. All you have to do is plug the device into the HDMI port of your television.
Another pocket-friendly option is to use a streaming service on your laptop and connect it to your TV with an HDMI cable. You could also download a casting app on your phone and use the TV as a mirrored screen while streaming on the phone.
Choose the Right Streaming Service
Irrespective of the hardware you use, you must select the right streaming services according to your viewing preferences. Here are a few available options:
- On-demand streaming services (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Roku)
- Live TV streaming services (YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV)
- Cable provider apps (Spectrum TV, Dish Anywhere)
- Network/channel apps (CBS All Access, HBO Go)
Cord-Cutting is the Standard
Cord-cutting is no longer an alternative to cable TV. It’s become the widely accepted standard of home-based entertainment. Streaming devices, such as Roku Streaming Stick and Google Chromecast, are facilitating this process. Make sure you select the right hardware and streaming services and check your internet connection before making the switch.